Safer Cornwall has launched a campaign to raise awareness to mitigate the increased risks of domestic abuse during the Coronavirus crisis, and the challenges of providing adequate support.
Superintendent Sharon Donald of Devon & Cornwall Police said: “Sadly, as schools close and home working is encouraged, Covid-19 may cause a rise in domestic abuse. The cycle of violence may intensify with people having to isolate themselves and being unable to socialise in the normal ways. It is important that victims know how and where to get advice and support and that they know they can report by phone and online.”
The campaign is being rolled out via digital media and the Safer Cornwall website. It aims both to raise awareness that domestic abuse may increase with people self-isolating, and to reassure people that help is available during these unprecedented times.
Rob Nolan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Covid-19 will have a serious impact on the lives of those living with domestic abuse. For some people, home is not always a safe place, which might mean that the prospect of physical distancing or self-isolation may be causing some adults and children to feel additionally anxious, at an already difficult time.
Anna MacGregor at Safer Cornwall, said “We are doing everything possible to ensure that specialist support continues to be available to everyone that needs it. Some services are restricted to delivering non-face to face support, due to current health concerns. However, the support is still here for you and your family, refuges are still running, and specialist domestic abuse workers are still working to respond to your needs and help you to stay safe.”
Cornwall’s integrated domestic abuse and sexual violence service, Safer Futures, is still providing support, safety planning and information via their helpline, text service and online. Safer Futures will also direct you to any additional services that you may need and can liaise on your behalf if appropriate to do so, for example if you feel you want to access a refuge at this time.
Alternatively, you can also access refuge and support via:
- Cornwall Refuge Trust website
- 24 hour Helpline: (01872) 225629
- Tel: 01872 225629
If you feel unsafe and that you are in immediate danger, then you should still contact the emergency services via 999; Devon and Cornwall police work very closely with our local domestic abuse and sexual violence services and will ensure you get the follow-on support that you need.
Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app on Android and IOS, providing support and information for anyone impacted by an abusive relationship or for those concerned about someone they know. It can also be used by practitioners and other employers to learn more and provide support.
If you are self-isolating or physically distancing and living with an abusive partner or family member there are a variety of tools you can use to cope emotionally and ensure you are staying safe, There’s lots of useful advice to be found online about ways to help reduce your anxiety and ground yourself, and things to help entertain the children. In addition, Safer Cornwall will be posting regular videos and information to help you and your family through this difficult time.
We know that those of you with children prioritise their needs over your own and the thought of your children not being in safe place is very unsettling. We want to ensure that you are aware that children who are vulnerable can remain in school. Your school may have already identified your child as being eligible to continue to attend, if they have not and you feel that the situation in your home makes them vulnerable, then contact your school to ask if your child can be included. If you need assistance with this, please contact the Safer Futures or Cornwall Refuge Trust helplines above.